Former world champion turned boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi believes Billy Joe Saunders faces two battles in Texas on Saturday.
Should the slick Saunders somehow manage to upset the formbook and outfox boxing’s pound-for-pound number one Canelo Alvarez at the AT&T Stadium, he also needs to sufficiently impress the judges.
Past history shows that’s an obstacle in itself with the influential Canelo receiving the benefit of the doubt in two close calls against Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017 (D12) and 2018 (W12) and a frustrating night against Erislandy Lara in 2014 (W12).
“I don’t think Canelo can lose a points decision anywhere in the world! The money is followed,” Malignaggi told Talksport. “This is one of the issues with boxing – it is a business before it is a sport.
“In boxing, it is a business to the point where it doesn’t matter if you win anymore; if the business guy has to get the decision, then he will get the decision. That’s the unfortunate thing because Canelo is world class, he is top-level, world class fighter.
“So just to beat him is a feat in itself, but then to also have to get a decision, you have two big hurdles in front of you. You have to beat this guy – who is excellent – you also have to hope to get a decision as well.
“But here is the problem; if Canelo had not gotten those decisions, because really you can make a case that he lost the Lara fight and both Golovkin fights, would this fight be as special?” added Malignaggi.
“It should be, it’s two excellent fighters, and I honestly think Canelo has something for Billy Joe in the same way Billy Joe has something for Canelo. It’s an excellent fight nonetheless, but would people perceive it the same way if Canelo had three losses on his record? They probably wouldn’t.”